The 6 Roles Expansion-Stage Companies Need Most

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OpenView Talent Specialist Lindsey Gurian breaks down the roles and qualities that can make or break a growing company’s success.

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When expansion-stage companies plan for growth, human capital needs to be one of their biggest investments. Sure, they may already have the right products and services, but without the right people, they’ll never make it to the next level.

OpenView provides recruiting services for its expansion-stage portfolio companies and has helped place dozens of professionals over the past several years. We understand that the roles a company needs most as a startup often aren’t the same ones that they need at the expansion stage. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of roles we recruit for most often as well as a list of the characteristics we look for when sourcing talent for each.

Lead Generation Specialists

An entry-level sales position, lead generation specialists identify prospects and qualify those leads using the information they receive from their sales team. They then pass on key leads to senior sales staff, who subsequently close (or at least try to close) deals. Successful lead generation specialists are:

  • Comfortable selling over the phone and dealing with objections
  • Metrics oriented (their success is evaluated based on the number of calls they make)
  • Able to deal with frequent rejection and still move forward

Lead Generation Manager

Responsible for leading a team of lead generation specialists, lead generation managers typically have 5 to 7 years of sales experience and have worked in managerial roles for at least 3 years. They must be able to coach, train, and manage their team, as well as establish best practices for prospecting and qualifying. Successful lead generation managers are:

  • Experienced at setting metrics (e.g., determining how many dials it takes to set an appointment and how many appointments it takes to close a deal) and gauging the success of their lead generation specialists.
  • Able to motivate teams and serve as a mentor and coach who is focused on developing and retaining employees.
  • Adept at handling numerous sales situations

Sales Director

Out in the field, sales directors work directly with customers and must have considerable product knowledge and the ability to both work independently and self-manage. The sales director must have a strong history of hitting their quotas and be motivated by closing deals. Successful sales director candidates have:

  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in sales
  • An existing network/pipeline in the desired industry
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to travel extensively

Software Engineer

Typically self-starters, software engineers tend to be very precise and have a passion for and deep understanding of complex data structures and algorithms. As individual contributors, they help develop SaaS products. Successful software engineers have:

  • Experience working directly with clients to ensure that the products they are developing are on target
  • Domain expertise
  • Proven success developing production software
  • Experience with Web applications, full-cycle of software development (conception through delivery of product), working with relational data, and Javascript

Content Manager

Responsible for executing an organization’s content marketing processes and strategy, a content manager oversees day-to-day editorial functions, including content creation and curation. Great content manager have a minimum of 3 to 4 years of editorial experience with a solid foundation in journalism, English, or PR, and are:

  • Able to identify and manage freelance resources and ensure the timely delivery of quality of content
  • Experienced at analyzing Web and social media traffic and working with search engine optimization
  • Highly organized, creative thinkers who can prioritize numerous tight deadlines

Interaction Designer

Inherently creative, interaction designers are tasked with helping increase companies’ customer base by ensuring that their products provide a great user experience. Interaction designers stand out when they are:

  • Able to interpret results, perform user analytics, develop conceptual models, and process flows and navigational maps
  • Experienced designing interfaces for Web-, mobile-, and desktop-based applications
  • Able to work with designers and other stakeholders to create attractive, user-friendly products
  • Skilled in interaction design skills and have a deep understanding of the user and the domain

Whether your company is at the expansion stage or well established, its success will hinge on the people you have working for you. To find out more about the work OpenView does to recruit for its portfolio companies, read our recent case study, ”The Hunt for Top Talent.”